UK Government 'ineffective' over single use coffee cups

2.5 billion coffee cups are used in the UK every year.
2.5 billion coffee cups are used in the UK every year.
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The UK government is taking “no effective action” over the issue of waste created by throw away coffee cups, Westminster’s environmental audit committee has warned.

It said the government has refused to take any decisive action on the complex issue of coffee cups following a committee report into the issue – including the introduction of a ‘latte levy’ on disposable cups – and has instead chosen to rely on voluntary commitments.

The committee said it has also asked the National Audit Office to inquire into the Government’s oversight of the Packaging Recovery Note scheme, to further scrutinise UK recycling policy.Its key recommendation was the introduction of a 25p levy on the use of disposable coffee cups, to reduce their use and help to fund recycling measures.

A total of 2.5 billion single use coffee cups are used in Britain every year. Some cafe chains have introduced a discount for customers who bring their own cup.

Environmental audit committee chair, Mary Creagh, said: “The UK’s throwaway culture is having a devastating impact on our streets, beaches and seas. Our report recommended practical solutions to the disposable packaging crisis. The Government’s response shows that despite warm words they plan no real action.”

Friends of the Earth plastic-free campaigner Julian Kirby said: “Government commitment to tackling coffee cup waste appears to be all froth and little substance.

“This response will also undermine government pledges to champion the environment – a far bolder and more urgent approach is needed if we are going to tackle the crisis we face.”

The Scottish Government said it would soon announce an expert panel to consider the future of single use items such as coffee cups.

A spokesman said: "We are committed to examining ways to reduce the use of single-use items, including the possibility of charges on single use cups, and will announce details of an expert panel to advise on how we best achieve this soon."

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